Tag Archives: multiple myeloma

How the Bible sustained me in the dark

Your Word is a lamp is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105

I was in the hospital umbilically attached to my bag of cancer-killing chemicals on an IV pole, which takes anywhere from thirty minutes to several hours to empty one of those bags into your blood stream. It’s always been my habit to bring a book wherever I go, but even more so since spending three or four lifetimes in hospital waiting rooms, examination areas, and chemo dispensaries (more attractively known as “Infusion Centers”). Another off-and-on habit of mine is to memorize Scripture from sheets of handwritten passages folded to pocket size. Especially during the first year or two of my dark days, the Spirit pointed out a bunch of passages that were spot-on applicable to me. So, in addition to a Bible and other books I was reading, I carried to the hospital and everywhere I went a sheet of these passages to memorize and meditate on. Of all the things the Lord used to sustain me in those years, this practice is among the top five:  God’s personal presence, Bob and Jean, my precious kids, my faithful friends, and the Word. Continue reading

Friends (part two)

Jonathan helped David find strength in God. 1 Samuel 23:16

I love this passage because it tells what friends do. At their own expense they help you find strength in God. They don’t try to give you strength – that would be to put you in their debt. They don’t attempt to be your strength – that would be co-dependent. They help you find God’s strength that you temporarily lost track of. God is your strength – your best friends know this, and they’re glad to remind you of it and help you locate it again. Continue reading

Friends (part one)

“Where’s anyone who cares about me? The world’s lousy, no good. If I’d had my life to live over again, I would’ve done things a little different. I would’ve had more friends.” Ty Cobb

I want to be rich in friends more than rich in just about anything else I can be rich in. Anne Lamott

When I became a black hole of neediness, I was tempted to isolate myself from people, but instead, spurred by grace, I ran toward them. I stayed real close to my pit crew of friends and they pulled into me. For the first time in my life I could contribute absolutely nothing to anyone else. As much as I hate being the sole beneficiary in a relationship, I had to temporarily surrender to it and let my friends out-give me. None of them batted an eye at this new, albeit temporary, arrangement – and that’s because I have great friends. They literally buoyed me when I was sinking. Continue reading

Self-pity is not my friend (part three)

One day I was at Stanford hooked up to the chemo dispenser and across the room from me was a good-looking young man who was attached to a machine that looked similar to mine with his beautiful young wife at his side. As the hours passed the guy kept fainting as he was being treated. Four or five times his wife called for the nurses, who rushed to prop him back up and revive him. Continue reading

Self-pity is not my friend (part two)

I grew up as if I were an only child. My parents were in their 40’s when I was born and my two siblings were nearly twenty years older than me. To show you how sharp I am, it wasn’t until I was in college that I did the math and came to the shrewd deduction that I wasn’t planned (at least not by my parents). I called my mom from the dorm payphone and said, “I figured it out; I was a mistake!”

“No, Honey,” she tenderly replied, “you were a surprise – a bonus.”

Thanks, Mom! Continue reading

My Darth Vader mask… (part two)

Back to the transplant… It takes three months to go through it and another three months to recuperate from it. It’s really rather grueling. They overdose you with chemo, collect your stem cells and freeze them. Then they chemo you up some more and eventually put the cells back in your bloodstream, hoping they’ll start a whole new colony of healthy cells. It’s not the stem cell part that’s so difficult, but the different cocktails of chemo that really kick your butt. Since you’ve probably seen a friend or family member afflicted in such a way and have no desire to be reminded of it, I won’t go into detail. But I would like to tell you this one part of the process. Don’t worry; it’s not gross. Continue reading

My Darth Vader mask… (part one)

It is not true that God wants to teach us something in our trials:  through every cloud he brings, he wants us to unlearn something. His purpose in the cold is to simplify our belief until our relationship to him is exactly that of a child. Oswald Chambers

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Acts 16:25

Both oncologists consulting on my case agreed, and convinced me that the transplant at Stanford Hospital would be the best next step going forward. They’d already shot me up with a variety of toxic chemicals and prescribed a daily pocketful of pills to take, none of which dented the virulent disease in my bones. One of those drugs had an interesting side effect if you want to hear it. Nausea is not involved; so don’t skip this part if you’re beginning to feel a little queasy. Continue reading